(Possibly) Coming Soon: House Floor Vote on Waxman-Markey Energy Bill

According to a quote from House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman in an E&E article this morning, the Waxman-Markey bill could reach a floor vote inside of 3 weeks.  Speaker Pelosi had set a deadline of next Friday, June 19, for the 8 House Committees still evaluating HR 2454 to conclude their review, but has not indicated when Democrats will bring the legislation to the House floor.  Waxman said yesterday that he wants debate to begin on June 22 and the bill to go to a vote before the July Fourth recess — "I think the speaker and the majority leader and the administration agree with that timing, and we’re going to do all we can to stick to it because after we come back from the July Fourth recess, it is health care for the rest of the month."

The tension in scheduling the Administration’s dual priorities of energy and health care seems to be an issue.  Ways & Means Chairman Charles Rangel reported that in the Democratic committee members’ meeting with the President this week , the President did not give lawmakers a specific deadline for sending him a climate bill — a marked contrast with the firm deadline for health care legislation.  Rangel told reporters that in order to concentrate on both climate and health care, the Ways & Means Committee might skip markup of the climate bill and instead work out their concerns with Chairman Waxman before a floor vote or during floor vote, via amendments.

What the bill will look like when when it reaches the floor is still under discussion.  One committee expected to offer substantial amendments on hot-button issues like biofuels and offsets is the House Agriculture Committee.   While the offsets debate may be even more heated than that for the allocation of credits, biofuels may be the first amendment offered.  As Climate Wire reported Wednesday, House Agriculture Committee members are considering a legislative fix for EPA’s proposed regulation of biofuels.  At EPA’s public hearing on the recent proposal, which involves the requirement of a 100-year long lifecycle analysis for biofuels international impact, testimony from both biofuel advocates and environmentalists urged changes.  Particularly since the lifecycle emissions of petroleum production are not evaluated in the same way, calculation of biofuels’ carbon footprints will have a huge impact on whether the Congressional mandate to ramp up biofuel use to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022 can be met. 

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